May 152013

It's like staring at the sun It’s like staring at the sun

It is hard to write about this screenshot without feeling a little teenager-y. This paragraph is at least the 45th way to start this article that has passed through my brain, but it is the first one that does not embarrass me by being filled with immature verbal leering.

Yes they have a female form. So what? Lots of things have a female form. For instance, girls do, and I can write about them without having to suppress Beavis & Butthead sniggers and side comments.

But for some reason, these shots bring out the sixth-grader in me. Nonetheless, I will forcibly set aside my much-younger and less reputable self and look at the images more objectively.

I am immediately curious about the biology involving these two species. Count the mammals you see in these pictures. I come up with a total of zero. Then count the mammaries: way more than zero. Why would a non-mammalian species evolve mammaries?

Do we seriously believe that either Dryads or Succubi suckle their young? Let’s double check another image:

A mammal-free scrum
How many mammals do you see?

Nope, still not mammals.

One may posit that these are magical creatures, and aren’t required to follow the same rules as natural creatures. Yet still, they must have some origin. Are they hatched? Spawned? Gestated? Cloned? Did they ever have mommies? Did some wizard make them up entirely from nothing? And if so, why are there so many of them and why do they all have similar appearance?

No, these creatures are not manufactured, they are spread throughout Eberron and Faerun (and everywhere else that has a Monster Manual). Wherever they appear they have similar traits and appearance. Clearly, some process results in their formation. Their origin process, whatever it is, is “natural”, spontaneous, and repeatable. And also happens fairly regularly.

They each represent a species in all of the ways that matter: they are part of the fantasy world biosphere.

The Succubus is a vaguely reptilian being that is natively produced (reproduced?) on a plane of existence – Shavarath – that shares the same laws of physics and magic as exist in the prime material plane. How does this happen? Do mommy and daddy devils love each other very much and then suddenly, a new Succubi? There is a male version of the species, the Incubus, so that supports this theory. Are there baby Succubi? Do the mother Succubi bear their young live? Or as eggs of some sort? Or do they spring out already fully grown? And if they are fully grown at birth, does that include the ability to reproduce? And if so, why wouldn’t a species with the ability to reproduce at birth completely overwhelm us with sheer fecundity? Wouldn’t there be Succubi everywhere?

The Dryad is slightly less exotic in that it is produced right here on the prime material plane. On the other hand, it is a form of tree, which is pretty exotic in and of itself. There is no male version of the Dryad, which leads one to assume primarily asexual means of reproduction. Seeds or rhizomes? Neither of which requires the (apparent) ability to suckle their young. Or perhaps they are a hybrid? Maybe a mommy tree and a daddy human love each other very much and then suddenly, a new Dryad? Does it start out as a baby Dryad? Or is it also fully-grown at birth?

Most creatures we encounter in our fantasy tableau have an obvious heredity. When one sees a dragon, one instinctively knows that somewhere, there are dragon eggs and baby dragons. Ditto for owlbears and tarrasques and mindflayers and many, many others.

But not these two. Nothing about their origin is obvious. They simply do not make sense.

But maybe something will occur to us if we look at the images again. Closely and for awhile. In detail. Even if I am unable to come up with a decent origin I won’t mind overly much.

Because, you know. Boobies.

πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚

  6 Responses to “Dryad versus Succubus”

Comments (6)
  1. Geoff said “boobies.”

    Hehhehheh, hehheh.

    In the case of Succubi, boobies make them more attractive to their prey – humanoid males.

    Likewise, the ‘boobies’ are one of the standard traits allotted to motherhood figures, even given that they exist/evolve to be purely aesthetic adornments. For instance, the first mother, Gaia herself. Her form is depicted as markedly hippy and busty in most cases. Stands to reason that any feminine form following, whether Evil, Neutral, or Good, would follow that form.

    However. I think we’re over-thinking it. Perhaps the question of the origin of boobies is akin to asking the origin of modern God. “He just is” = “They just are.”


  2. Quick, cast grease!

    *ahem* sorry.

    Putting aside obvious aesthetic options, Depending on the particular myths, both of them tend to seduce human(oid) males… for a succubus so they can eat them/their souls (woot, boobies! wait, arrghhh im beating eaten!) & for dryads they’re a weird mix of plant & animal & need males so they can breed, but only ever end up producing female offspring – the SCP wiki would probably include something about hormones causing only the X chromosome to be expressed, but 2 chromosomes being required to prevent genetic stagnation.

    As a final & somewhat related note, i would like to quote the words of Jeff Murdoch: When god created the arse, he didn’t just say “hey, its just a basic hinge, lets knock off early”, he said “behold ye angels, i have created the arse – in the years to come, people shall grab hold of these & call my name”.

  3. They’ll never make beefcakes with banana hammocks in DDO.

    • There totally should be.

      • The problem is WHAT to show to give the female players a little fanservice. As Geoff so beautifully put: BOOBIES. They’re, um, OUT THERE–a distinctive feminine curve that, combined with other things, says “I’m female!” How does one make that work for a Rod Studcake NPC? Based on my experience, the devs would likely overcompensate with too many muscles or buns that are too sculpted, or hair that’s too long, or a codpiece that seems to be overcompensating. In short, female gamers are like other women; they aren’t necessarily visually stimulated, and those that do have very differing tastes that a game won’t quite hit.

        I still go “um” when I see a succubus; they really are drawn well. I did go “huh?” with the wood-chicks until my medulla overwrote my reason centers with “BOOBIES”. Sigh.

  4. Just thought I’d chime in; while I agree that, on the whole, creatures such as succubi and dryads have been more or less a creation of fanservice, it is the case that the lore behind them was crafted to adequately support their forms. And the way I see it, both are essentially for the same reason; it helps draw prey in towards the predators.

    Hear me out on this. From my understanding succubi are devil’s who use their…persuasion to influence human(oid) men into eternal (or as close to eternal as possible) pain, torment, and torture. Dryads on the other hands use their…allure to draw human(oid) males into a trap where they keep them and feed/draw off of them as would a parasite, you know, like what’s found in nature all the time. Both tasks are made easier by having an appearance that is deemed appealing by prey. Add to the mix that, for the most part, a nice set of breasts is typically deemed attractive by men (of the heterosexual nature) and such a thing would logically become a standard if success in their particular tasks were an important mechanism for continuation of the species. Especially when the stereotype (which can be startlingly accurate) of their prey is that they are of the mindset “I really shouldn’t, but *damn* she’s hot!”. And, to add in to that, I have yet to see any indication that the anatomy in question is, in fact mammary in nature. Much like the stick insect is not actually a stick, it could very well be the case that such…protrusions? are not in fact functional breasts, but merely an anatomical feature that help one in their task of continued existence. πŸ˜‰

    Also, @annetrent I daresay that you are correct. And to be fair, they really should. The thing is, though, in my experience the ladies are less…driven by visual aspects than men tend to be.

What do you think?

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